Submitted by Bedford Embraces Diversity
The third annual Bedford Multicultural Festival on Sunday afternoon, May 21, promises to be an extravaganza of experiences from a range of performing artists, as well as activity tables and foods.
But there’s a much deeper message inherent in the festivities.
“The festival is meant to symbolize the celebratory aspect of bringing together people in Bedford with different heritages, ethnicities, religious beliefs and sexual orientations,” said Marilou Barsam, president of the sponsoring organization Bedford Embraces Diversity and a driver of its three annual festivals. “And while we’re at it, we have a lot of fun with a full array of dancers, musicians, and food from around the world!”
Leading the Parade of Flags for the second straight year, and opening the performances on stage, will be aNova Brazil, the Boston-based percussion band from the Grooversity worldwide network. The group exudes an infectious energy with its rhythms, vocal embellishments, and interaction with spectators.
The parade will form up on the Town Common at 2:30 p.m. and step off onto The Great Road at 3. The Bedford Minutemen will add Colonial culture as the marchers head west, then turn onto Mudge Way.
Organizers encourage participation in the parade. They provided the following link for details and registration:https://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0b4ea9a72aa6fc1-parade1. Flags will be provided – or marchers can bring their own.
Percussion is also the hallmark of another special performing group, Odaiko New England. The virtuosos with the Japanese percussion instrument called taiko thrive on audience participation.
Among other performances on the eclectic stage agenda are a Chinese adult folk dance group,; choruses from Davis School, singing several uplifting numbers; and a grand cross-cultural dance with audience involvement, led by Jennifer Buckley. Bedford resident Penpa Tsering will play the music of his native Tibet.
Near the performance stage, the festival will feature almost two dozen tables featuring craft vendors and activities, many of them geared for children. Several will be sponsored and managed by Bedford High School student organizations.
“This year’s booths will have interactive activities, enabling conversations. Having conversations with people who are different from ourselves helps us understand each other; this is so important,” said Val Rushanan, Bedford Embraces Diversity vice president and one of the founders of the festival. A variety of ethnic food vendors completes the picture.
The Multicultural Festival is made possible by a wide range of sponsors, including local corporations and retail businesses, local and state service organizations and cultural councils, and individual donations.